Kenya’s Water Act (2016) : real devolution or simply the ‘same script, different cast’
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The debate surrounding the enactment of Kenya’s Water Act (2016) and its relationship with its predecessor, the Water Act (2002), brings to mind the lyrics of a contemporary pop duet, ‘Same script, different cast’. As the jilted girl attempts to forewarn the current girl of the hurtful ways of her former boyfriend, the latter resists arguing he has changed. To persuade the impressionable new girl to see beyond the façade of the apparent change, the ex-girlfriend uses the expression ‘same script, different cast’ repeatedly, to demonstrate that all that has changed is the actors. In a bid to align the Water Act (2002) with the Constitution of Kenya (2010) (Constitution) and particularly to achieve the devolution enshrined in the Constitution, the Water Act 2016 was enacted following a long drawn out process beginning with the first draft Water Bill of 2012. Despite the amendments brought about by the new Act, critics argue that the Water Act (2016) is at most a superficial modification of the Water Act (2002) albeit with renamed institutions, thus evoking the parallel with the song.